Nail polish removers often have a written warning on the label about the dangers of ingestion, the need to keep it away from children, and the fact that it is flammable. There is no written warning that it could cause extreme peeling of the skin on fingers which came in contact with an ordinary, non-acetone nail polish remover. There should be.
The nail polish remover in question was an everyday generic, non-acetone nail polish remover with a Dollar General label. The label compared the generic version to, “the performance of Cutex.” The specific formula also promised to, “help soften cuticles and add strength and resiliency for more beautiful nails, ” as written on the label. As a parent, I never imagined this nail polish remover would also cause injury and literally peel off the skin on my daughter’s fingers. She may well have bathed her hands in paint thinner.
How it Happened
This story is a precautionary tale for any parent with an otherwise mature and capable tween or teen. Many young girls like to paint or decorate their nails, and few, if any, would require parental supervision when using a nail polish remover. My daughter simply applied the non-acetone nail polish remover one evening to remove old, chipped nail polish. In the process, her fingertips came in contact with the nail polish remover.
The next morning she noticed that the skin on her fingertips had begun to form what appeared to be bubbles, with air trapped underneath. One by one, each finger puffed up and reportedly, “felt strange.” That evening the first bubble broke open, revealing angry red skin underneath. She initially said they felt like they were tingling and burning, and later plenty of itching began. The outer skin on all her fingers now looked extremely dry and each finger started to peel.
By the time she had a nurse examine the damage, her fingers looked raw. The underlayer of skin itched and burned, alternatively. The treatment involved regular applications of Neosporin and bandages during the day. The areas had to be aired out at night to promote healing. Luckily, the skin damaged by the nail polish remover began to heal after about a week. The redness started to fade and the chemically burned skin peeled off.
The Dangers of Nail Polish Remover
The typically strong scent of most nail polish removers should be a warning that nail polish removers are a strong mix of chemicals. The chemicals used in nail polish removers can take paint off just about anything and cause damage to wood finishes, synthetic fabrics, and plastics, as noted on the label. It can also cause the skin to peel off your fingers and cause chemical burns to exposed skin, as learned firsthand with our experience.
Today, all the skin damage has healed. Treatment lasted for about 3 weeks and future use of any nail polish remover will be done wearing gloves.